Can Military Personnel Mediate Their Divorce In Arizona

USA Today reports that the military divorce rate is at its highest level since 1999.  See Military divorce rate at highest level since 1999, by Gregg Zoroya.  According to the article, almost 30,000 marriages in which at least one spouse was a member of the military ended in divorce.  The numbers are expected to rise as more troops are being withdrawn.  Why is this happening?  The article quotes Chaplain Caarleton Birch, who attributes the high divorce numbers to the fact that more military personnel are coming home, and families are not used to being together.  Divorces are most common among enlisted women.  Air Force personnel have the most divorces out of all of the branches with almost five percent of marriages for enlisted personnel ending in divorce during this last year.

While the procedure for getting divorce for military personnel is the same in Arizona, there are a few unique challenges.  For example, there are specific rules about dividing military pensions and survivor benefits.  Also, there is law to prevent certain military personnel from having to participate in a divorce action while serving.

Nonetheless, there is no need for military members to go through a contentious litigation.  Military divorces, like all divorces, can be resolved through mediation.   In mediation, the parties utilize a neutral (the mediator) to help resolve all issues out of court.  Mediation is a good option for people looking to minimize conflict and cost.  People returning from active duty may have a particular interest in having a less stressful and less expensive divorce. Further, if one party is out of state or out of the country, that party can participate in mediation through video or phone conferencing.   With mediation, neither party has to go to Court. Mediation can also be used to reconcile a marriage that has been frayed by time in service.

Alona M. Gottfried is a family law mediator and attorney in Arizona.  If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or  This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice.  See a legal professional before making legal decisions.

Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

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